I’m going to miss Fraud

I was listening to as much sports talk radio as I could, and as many shows and different takes as I could possibly absorb.  A 20-year legendary career had come to an end just the night before.  Outside of winning a championship, this was the greatest send off I have ever seen a player have.  Peyton winning a Super Bowl had to be the best, as he channeled his inner Trent Dilfer and managed the game all the way to a championship.  Brett Favre, now I remember more the season before his last when he took a mediocre Minnesota Vikings team to the NFC Championship game, with Adrian Peterson fumbling the game away.  That final season was riddled with injuries for Favre.  As far as the NBA goes, well who was the last player you were like, this is it.  Even Jordan snuck out of Washington like a congressman running away with a lobbyist.  This just doesn’t happen, where there is a farewell tour.
Look, lets talk about this for a minute, some people think that when Kobe announced he was going to retire at the end of the season, that it was a selfish act to just draw attention to himself. WHAT??!!!  This is the polarizing Kobe Bryant, hey most of us figured that this would be it.  Just in case some people weren’t sure, Kobe fans, young Kobe fans in cities like New York, Minneapolis, Miami, etc. now knew that they had 1 last chance to see him in person.  There was no “I can catch him next year” and they knew that for sure so they had to get their ticket and get to the arena.
Why do I say I will miss Fraud?  Well as I listened to almost every radio/TV talk show host I could and almost all marveled at what they saw on April 13, 2016.  Kobe’s last game. From nowhere Mamba dropped both 60 and the mic that night.  There was a couple with the standard, “Typical Kobe takes 50 shots.”  I mean really?!  I was pissed he had 4 assists! The Lakers were a 16-win team and this was the last time we would see Kobe on a NBA court.  “I sure hope DeAngelo Russell shoots 20 times” said no one ever on that day, not even DeAngelo’s mom and especially not Nick Young.  So you can complain if you want, but at least make some sense in your argument.
Enter Jason Whitlock, who is a solid columnist for Fox Sports but I think he was on Fox and friends, their jank morning show filled with takes just to incite an audience.  He opened the show with 2 things that made me go “who is this assclown?”  How hungover was he? (Which is phenomenal when you are 25, not 35 fat and bald.)  He opens with the NFL trade of the day, and don’t get me wrong that’s a big deal, but that’s your lead?!  The only time that makes sense is when Kevin Dyson gets tackled at the 1 by the Rams in the Super Bowl, not a trade of draft picks.  When he finally gets to Kobe, he prefaces it by saying, “I am a wolf and I have sharp teeth, I am about to cut into people right now.”  You’re a what?!  I have never seen a middle aged fat wolf, profess on a constant basis how much money they have and how they love the Bunny Ranch in Vegas more than you. “Kobe Bryant is a fraud.”  I about drove off the road into a lake.  My jaw dropped, but I had to hear why.  “All he ever did in his career is act like Michael Jordan, pattern his game like Michael Jordan, treat the media like Michael Jordan, everything about him screamed “I can’t be like Mike.”  That is when I laughed.  Ok I get it.  He wants to cuddle with Mike, snuggle up to him just a little more and is a flat out Kobe hater.  I felt better at that moment; this is someone with a take that just wants to get clicks.  I could see the Internet headline “Jason Whitlock calls Kobe Bryant a Fraud.”  That would do it (Turns out I was wrong the headlines actually read Jason Whitlock calls Kobe Bryant the most fraudulent celebrity athlete ever).  I get it, I am just a random dude with a podcast and a blog.  Who doesn’t have that anymore?  Everyone seems to, and clicks are what keep you relevant.  I just hold the ones on a show with millions of listeners and a company with the resources Fox has to not play the “let me get clicks” game.
Fraud, lets look at that for a minute.  Kobe was the heir apparent to 23.  He talked like him, walked like him, defended like him, developed a mid range game, had his toughness.  So pretty much we had that player from 1984, when Michael was drafted by the Bulls to 2016 when Kobe retired from the Lakers.  32 years of the most amazing player we would see in our generation.  A combination of Kobe/Michael, with supreme toughness.  The best players in the game at the time Michael scored 38 against Utah with a 103 degree fever, or when Kobe dislocated his finger a couple times in a game.  Timeout is called to pop it back in and he didn’t miss a play.  When he tore his ACL, shot free throws because he thought he would be back in the game and walked off the court.  Lebron has cramps is carried off the court. In his first home game of his first Finals, Paul Pierce banged knees with Kendrick Perkins, and was taken off in a wheelchair. A little later he comes running back on the court to finish the game.  Kobe and Michael had to be saying, “what the hell is wrong with you guys. Cramps, really!! You were healthy enough to come back in the game and play so no way you needed to be taken off in a wheel chair!”  If Kobe is fraud, I vote that we need more fraud in the NBA.  What we don’t hear now is who is the heir apparent to Kobe Bryant is, because there isn’t one. That player might never arrive.
So just to be clear Jason Whitlock, you are a moron, but also correct. Kobe patterned his game after Michael, he wanted to be the best player in the world.  What did you expect him to do, pattern his game after Slava Medvadenko?  Who is he you ask, exactly my point.  You pattern your game after greatness if you want to be great.  Shaq called it right in May of ’97 when the Lakers where playing Utah in the playoffs.  The Lakers were about to be eliminated, swept even.  Kobe was the one shooting the air ball 3 pointers, but he kept shooting.  He was trying to get them back in the game.  Shaq said “this kid is going to be great, he showed he isn’t afraid to take the big shot and soon they will fall.”  36 game winning shots later, you can ask Indiana in the finals what they think.  The Suns in the playoffs, or the Blazers in the Western Conference finals.  Good thing he didn’t pattern his game after Slava.
His career is over, but who is the next Kobe/Michael?  It’s hard to find a player like that anymore.  Lebron just doesn’t have the same toughness, but is still amazing.  Steph will blaze his own path, but his game is more Steve Nash.  (Before you think that’s a bad thing, he has 2 MVPs and was one of the most creative guards and best shooters in the game.)  Steph is going to be better, but their games are the same.  Kevin Durant, CP3, Anthony Davis, Karl Anthony Towns? None of them. Really seems like the player with the closest game might be Russell Westbrook.  Time will tell, I hope that we find him, but it just goes to show, Fraud IS GOOD, and I am going to miss FRAUD.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *